Weekend of Treats

What a lovely sunny weekend, even up here in the Frozen North!

The Minx. In her natural habitat

Normally we’d have nipped off and gone camping, but… both Maxi and Midi Minx had birthday parties to go to, and I have a knitting craft fair that I’m woefully understocked for. So, nothing for it but to get the paddling pools out. Yep, pools plural. The plan was to fill one then let the minxes merrily transfer the water from that to the other. And water the plants while they were at it. (Finally, after 3 weeks, we have 15 little courgettes germinating! Out of 35 planted. The potatoes think they’re triffids. And the cats think that the brussels sprouts, broccoli and pea seedlings were planted to keep their bellies warm. Grrrrr)

Maxi: “Half an hour you’ve been at it, Midi – pump faster!”
Mini: “Loser”

Meanwhile I sat, knitted like fury, and laughed. Out of the splashing zone. And to prolong the fun, The Boss insisted that they inflate the paddling pools themselves…

Now Mini Minx is 2, I’m no longer a sunblock Nazi, covering every square centimetre of minx skin in thick white gloop. We get so little sun that I’m more worried about Vitamin D deficiency than sunburn. But our handy wee UV monitor said it was level 5 before 11am, so out came the sunscreen. You can tell we’re multi-parents – we now buy it in trigger guns so we can chase after rapidly escaping naked minxes and spray them head to foot, like in a spray paint station. And luckily their UV sunsuits still fitted, so it made for a lot less minx to plaster. And boy, did they need it – The Boss is now known as Daddy The Loser after burning his back and baldy head with an hour in the sun, constructing a cat-proof cage for our seedling vegetables. You’d have thought he’d have learnt after I went a delicate salmon shade of pink a few weekends ago. Or maybe it was karma from his gleefully braying ‘Loser!’ at me too often? (Remember ‘loser’ is our codeword for sunburn victim).

I think the girls lasted nearly 2 hours before they needed more calories – crisps and hot chocolate milk, to give them some salt and some heat. Drinking hot chocolate after a splash in the sun, wow, it felt like being on summer holiday! Screams of joy (Mini doesn’t get to paddle very often) mingled with screams of glee (Midi catching Maxi square in the face with a bucket of grassy water) and screams of anger (Maxi).

I’m surprised they lasted so long – the night before, Maxi and Midi had been out dancing screaming and racing around at the local disco in the community hall for an hour after dinner (luxury treat dinner from the fish and chip van!). Normally I’d need at least a few days’ notice and thinking time before letting the girls do something like that, but I guess the sun got to me – I heard about it and on a whim decided to let them go, all in the space of a few minutes. The only way to get them fed beforehand was to get The Boss to nip down to the fish & chip van. Ah, ok, you’ve seen through me: to justify treat dinner I had to let the girls go to the disco 😀


Rapunzel, Rapunzel: it’s scissors or hairbrush, young lady – you choose!

Anyway, I had to haul Maxi out from queening it over her sisters in ‘her’ paddling pool for her biggest treat of the weekend: her first ever haircut. Yes – EVER. She’s now 6 and her thick, golden hair goes down her back, past her bum, and a few inches past. Just like every mother of a long-haired daughter, I got fed up threatening: “Scissors or hairbrush?!” every morning, as Maxi complained about the pain of getting rid of the tugs. So after I got more purple hairdye applied, my hairdresser made a fuss of Maxi and cut her hair to about elbow-length. Like a silly, overly-proud mummy, I took photos to mark the event and kept a 6-inch long lock of her baby-blonde hair tips. All 3 staff at the salon made a big deal of my little girl and she thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

On Sunday, Midi went to her party chaperoned by the The Boss, while I dropped off Maxi at her party and took Mini for a mummy-daughter lunch at Scribbles. I don’t think we’ve ever gone out like this, just us, without at least another minx or The Boss in tow. It was lovely! She delicately and thoughtfully nibbled through her Happy Face pizza while I topped up my caffeine and Beef Chilli Melt levels, and chatted throughout. We blethered about colours, her sisters, whether Midi was behaving or not, whether Daddy was a loser or not (sunburn) and her cats. After merrily polishing off a milkshake and a cup of water (together. Simultaneously. Through 2 straws. Crazy child), she was ready to hit the few shops we had to go to, “to dance-dance!” to the in-store muzak. She reminds me a lot of Tyres from Spaced, raving to the pelican crossing beeps:

Talking of loonies, I think the sun’s gone to a few people’s heads. In Elgin today I watched one wee boy on a powerful motorbike, dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt, with his anorexic girlfriend clinging on to him, dressed in camisole and knickers (well, they were too short to be shorts, surely?!). They were both wearing helmets, but if they came off at the speed he was riding at, they’d become mere smears in the road. Maybe the helmets were there to keep their teeth within a small area, to aid dental record identification? Ahhhhh, must have been aircrew!

Give The Kid A Bit of Slack

Fri 25 May

It’s Friday already and I’m bewildered where the week’s gone. I’m in a bit of an anxious frenzy about trying to sell my knitting at the Highland Baby Show on 1 and 2 June (please come and say hello if you’re around – seriously!), so as a result I’m getting stressed about trivia. Like having a messy, dirty house. And not getting any sleep. I know it’s pointless getting uptight about either of them because they will be ever-present for a few years yet!

This week all 3 girls have been getting up in the night. And I’ve been going to bed later and later, fretting about unfinished knitted blankets. So maybe the sheer stupifying effect of so little sleep (3-4 hrs a night) made me brightly volunteer to do some pro bono* work for a complete stranger. Well, I was inspired by a friend who did some pro bono work for me – she designed me a beautiful, sleek, concise brochure, using my photos and some very long descriptions and waffle – just so that she can show an alternative side to her current work. So I’m now helping design and structure a very ambitious training course for a complete stranger that she aims to have accredited with the Royal College of Midwives. Oh aye, and I’m on the Parent Council at school, am naive enough to think I can make a difference, and am rapidly fretting about lack of time! I mean, my full-time job of lion-taming 3 little minxes is long and arduous enough for most people…

*pro bono = for the public good without compensation

Mini Minx has received another speech upload. I’d noticed that she’d been speaking more clearly recently, but now she’s happily speaking in 2 and 3 word sentenced (“Give me that”, “That’s mine”, “Midi hurt me!”, “I want it”, “Don’ like it”, etc) but on Thursday she said her longest/most complex sentence yet: “Mummy made my bed”. Awwww! It sure beats her previous Best Effort: “I want that one”

teva tirra sandals

Tirras on minx feet

This past week of sunny weather has found me furiously trying to find our summer clothes. I mean, if you miss one day, then you’ve missed about 1/5th of the whole summer! I find sandals hard to buy for the minxes because I like them to be hard-wearing, sturdy, easy to wash and pretty. Oh, and wide enough for little minx duck-shaped feet. In the past I relied on Teva Psyclones, but now that Maxi’s feet are bigger, I felt that the Tirras were just perfect for her little-girl feet. So: now her feet have grown, Midi is happily wearing Maxi’s cast-off pretty pink Tirras, and I thought it would be a simple job to acquire a pair in a bigger size for Maxi. Nope. Well, only if I wanted to pay over £30, which is too steep. Much internet-wrangling later, I found THE only sub-£30 pair available worldwide for her, in a fetching grape. And I found a pair in my dinky foot size at seriously el-cheapo, in bright lime green. Takes the Mother-Daughter thing to whole new sad lengths… So to compound it, I painted my, Maxi and Midi’s toenails in matching glittery varnish.

BTW, this post isn’t sponsored by Teva (oh, if only!). I just really like the childrens’ sandals.

Oh, and I’m not actually obsessed with shoes and sandals – I just really, really struggle to get any to fit the girls. Example: this week I had 9 pairs of sandals and canvas shoes delivered (local shops don’t stock Midi’s size), but only a single, solitary pair fit her. Thankfully!

I’ve been working on slackening off my Paranoid Mother hold over the girls this week: I let them spend more time very loosely supervised in the garden and have been encouraging Mini to walk up and down the hill on various school runs through the day. Both nearly caused me a heart-attack. The minxes slung around clods of muck and smeared it on their faces from where Foster Cat has decided to dig up seedlings and poo. Thankfully, and unknown to me, The Boss had cleared the ground of cat poo only the night before. Phew! And Mini is absolutely determined to escape my hand and race towards the thundering wheels of the distillery and maltings lorries. The tenacious and wilful little madam has not yet accepted that holding Mummy’s hand by the side of the road is non-negotiable.

Talking of gardens, it’s hard to keep ours tidy and neat when Maxi is so determined to turn weeds into art…

Did I mention that Mini’s little nose is dusted in faint freckles, as well as one of her temples? She’s a beautiful little girl, and this just enhances that cuteness. Especially as she perpetually wrinkles that little nose at me. I guess it’s Minx for “Greeting, Mother”.

Outdoor Life Brainwashing Level 2

My and The Boss’s plan to brainwash the minxes into wanting to spend their weekends doing the same activities as we did, pre-kids, has stepped up a level. Hooray!

Yesterday (Saturday) The Boss took Maxi and Midi Minx out for a wee cycle along a local wide flat path while I got on with knitting for an impending craft fair and watched Mini nap. Well, my morning was spent doing a very fun mystery shopping assignment, but I can’t say anything about that. And I felt blinking awful, so needed to act more than usual.

Today the sun shone, even though it was cold still. I also had a lot of work to do on my blanket for the fair. I had 7,000 washloads of laundry to do and the house was a pit. So sensibly we decided to get wrapped up and all get out and have some fun for a few hours, cycling!

Mini, Midi, Maxi and Mega Minx out for a tootle

My old bike hasn’t seen the light of day since I used to ride to and from work, heavily pregnant with Mini. It was declared a Cadillac of a bike by my colleagues, who wizzed past on super-slinky go-faster lovely mountain bikes and racers. I don’t care – I love that bike and its old-fashioned shape, comfy ride and now newly-discovered ability to go down gear so far that I can pedal like hell whilst moving at a snail’s pace. Beside a little girl.

Not that I needed to much today: Maxi is a whizz on 2 wheels now, and Midi’s strong little legs make her faster on a stabiliser bike than I thought humanly possible. But then, that child takes corners on one front wheel and a stabiliser only, leaning out for balance and sling-shot boost. Mini, meanwhile, was safely in a bike seat on the back of my bike. She wasn’t happy about it, but 2 adults into 3 super-excitable kids intent on zooming off in totally different directions and speeds just doesn’t go. Poor Mini! But she soon perked up, sniffing the coconut sun-tan lotion scent of the gorse, pointing at violets, horses, dogs, birds, poking me in the ribs, putting her feet up on my saddle every time I raised my fat bum off it and objecting if I took over her luxury foot-stool.

According to The Boss’ Endomondo we cycled 2.2 miles in an hour. Which included stopping to dust off grazed knees (Maxi), kiss bashed elbows better (Maxi), wave at horses (Maxi), smile at dogs (Midi – she was hungry), and a detour to the beach to count the fishing boats. Not bad for 2 wee girls!

But the person shouting, “Woo-hoo!” the most often and the loudest was me. I didn’t think we’d be heading out cycling as a whole family this soon, and with so little extra gear (windproofs, helmets, water and bananas). I think next weekend we’ll try Midi without stabilisers, and then I think we’ll be going a lot further and faster. Ahhhhh, Peak Cycle Trail: we’ll be back before long, with 3 additions to the family.

To Be A Fun Mum, You Have To Do Your Kegels

Confucius say: empty bladder before teaching your kids to pogo and scissor-kick to Muse. And wear rubber gloves more often.

Maxi Minx’s school had 2 in-service training days, so we 4 had an extra-long weekend. On the Thursday we mostly mooched around the house; whilst I’m happy going out in the pouring rain, I prefer not to when it’s also icy cold, with a driving wind, and Mini’s coming down with something. Or cutting molars. Certainly, The Boss had poured Calpol down her little neck at 3am. And Maxi had had a nightmare so woke me around 6am as she snuggled her icy feet into me.  And both cats thought it was funny to play “Rip Carpet And Run Away” from around 5am. We were all grumpy as hell with lack of sleep, so I think it was a fair decision to make Thursday an indoor craft and DVD day.

Friday was much the same weather-wise, but we all felt better because we’d actually gotten some sleep. The girls were on fine form:

Maxi, talking about going guysing (UK version of trick or treating) with me at Hallowe’en this year: “Mummy, you could go as a clown. All you’d need is a red nose”

Me: “Oh? Is that all? What about a wig? Funny clothes?”

Maxi, wrinkling her nose: “Nah… you don’t need them”. Keep digging, little daughter…

For lunch I made their Ultimate Treat: Fake McDonald’s. Just strawberry milk in a cup with a straw, an expensive beef-burger in a roll with melted Red Leicester on top and the tomato ketchup underneath. The ketchup has to be squeezed in the shape of a loveheart. And I wrap the rolls in grease-proof paper. The minxes squealed with delight. Awwwww! If only they could stay so easily pleased!

Maxi likes to make badges, pictures to commemorate every occasion, collages and models. So she honestly wasn’t being cheeky when she said: “Ooooo Mummy, would you like me to make you a badge with a star and a big ‘M’ on it, while you make the hamburgers?”

Poor Mini’s skin is as dry as Maxi’s. I changed her nappy and her little legs rasped when I stroked them. For once, we didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything, so I fetched the Simple Derma (mega-moisturising cream that is worth every penny because it actually works) and asked Mini if she wanted Lovely Strokes. Lovely Strokes was what Maxi described Baby Massage when she saw me do it to a tiny Midi, and the term stuck. Mini wasn’t too sure about slowing down for a few minutes to submit to a massage, but it was lovely. After a minute of stroking her little cheeks and nose (oh my word she’s freckly! They’re very, very pale, but that little dusting on the bridge of her delicate wee nose is so beautiful!) she happily lay back on the toilet and let me rub her arms, legs, back, tummy. Just like Midi used to do, she sighed with delight when I stroked her back and giggled when I waggled her wee legs by the toes.

Midi just cleaned these windows for me

As my little 2 year old beamed up at me, the sun suddenly came out literally as well. So after Mini happily went down for her nap, I got the other 2 girls into their wellies and thick down jackets (yes – middle of May, and they still need hats and mits to go out to play) and let them race around the garden ‘unsupervised’.

My 4 year old window cleaner. And the tools of her trade

I kept a secret, beady eye on them from the other side of the window, but I’m trying not to hover over them as much and give them more space. While Maxi busied herself collecting beetles and rescuing worms, making hospital nests for them out of grass and dried leaves, Midi grabbed clods of mud and smeared them all over the windows. Shudder… Now, had I been in the garden, I’d have stopped that. But she had so much fun exploring the noise and texture of the mud, chuckling away to herself and singing, that I left her to it. Besides, her down jacket would wash up well in the machine, wouldn’t it…? Em yes, if I’d used soap flakes. Not Delicates Wash. So it got far cleaner than normal, but the down all clumped together. I swear it took over 2 hours of bashing around in the tumbler with 3 tumble-balls to get the down raised.

Food-colouring playdough

I decided I’d make some playdough as well. I found a good recipe online and let the girls all help: Mini measured the oil into the water, Midi measured and sifted the salt, cream of tartar and flour, and Maxi stirred it all on the hob. It took maybe 10 minutes total, and I needed to finish the stirring as it formed into a stiff dough, but it actually worked! We agreed it needed to be coloured, so I raided the baking cupboard for all my food-colouring: yellow, pink, red, green, blue and black.

Why you need to wear rubber gloves

Well, we discovered that ASDA pink food colouring gives a fantastic salmon-pink flesh colour to playdough. And that the playdough is indeed super-silky and lovely to play with. But that Supercook out of date blue and black food colouring are messy. And stain. And can’t be removed with exfoliating wipes, waterproof eye-makeup remover (also long out of date), soap, moisturiser or sugar-scrub. Ooops… Next time (and there definitely will be a next time) I’ll wear rubber gloves.

Oh, and top tip about making playdough using some random low-sodium salt I found lurking at the back of the cupboard (well, I’m not going to eat the crazy stuff, am I?) – when the playdough model dries, it forms long needle crystals. Very cool, but they make your perfectionist 6 year old howl because they’ve ruined the texture of her Santa Claus model.

As the minxes happily squeezed playdough through every garlic press we own, I made lasagne – their all-time favourite dinner – and put some music on. I love Fridays, I love homemade lasagne, I love it when the girls are happy, I love music. So when Mini toddled up wanting to dance with me, I wasn’t going to refuse. The random shuffler moved the song from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to Muse’s Plug-in Baby. So Mini’s sisters joined in the family dance. They wanted it played again. And again. So we copied each other pogo-ing, playing air guitar, that kind of silly thing. I taught them how to do scissor-kicks. We tried simultaneous air-guitar with kick and pogo. Only I managed it, but oh boy, carrying 3 big heavy daughters has made my undercarriage muscles a bit weak. I managed not to make a puddle, but only just.

God, we haven’t laughed like that in ages!


Weds 16 May 2012

It’s been a rollercoaster of a week and today’s been no different. I’m editing a post about cancer that I may still delete, yet. Especially because the whole long hand-wringy post boils down to “Lovely friends: stop getting it, ok?”  I was also going to make this post a reflective one, but sod it: here’s what happened, with no tarting around.

Mini Minx woke the entire house at 6.45am, complaining loudly about the stench wafting through from the litter tray that Foster Cat had missed. We could have all gone in a grump, but The Boss retrieved the morning by cooking up 2 frying pans of blueberry pancakes and having coffee on the table by the time I staggered down with an armful of Minx clothes. It took me so long because I had to wade through 20+ sheets of paper that Maxi and Midi had shredded into confetti-sized pieces. For fun. Which obscured the carpet and all the tiny, jaggy, ouchy toy-pieces they’d left there to ambush my bare feet.

Still, with happy, full tummies we got out the door to school 2 minutes early. Only to hit a blast of icy wind off the sea that caused 2 almost-instantaneous skin splits in my fingers (Met Office: “Feels like 0 degC” – you’re not kidding!). Then Foster Cat managed to escape out the front door while Maxi and Midi faffed around with who was “In Charge” of stopping him getting out. He’d follow the kids to school and get lost / run over. The neighbours must have been wetting themselves at me trying to grab that wily old cat; he would wait, calmly licking a paw while I feigned a nonchalent stroll up to him, then bounced off a millisecond before I grabbed him. So I ignored him and strode down the hill. He zig-zagged down. When we were twice the distance past the point where Killer Cat bottles it, hisses and scuttles off home, I realised he was going to follow us all the way to school. So I about-turned, marched back up the hill with 3 giggling minxes and a perplexed cat, back in the front door, swearing all the time, and invoked the dread weapons of the rattling packet of Go-Cat in one hand and the cat-nip mouse in the other. Safely trapped back in the house, I swept back down that stupid, pot-holed, hateful road again.

We made the bell and no more!

On the way back up that blasted hill, my day got lots better – the postman handed me a box with 18 packets of crisps in it: my runner’s-up prize for a wee review I wrote about a good kids’ day out.

Opening my emails, it got better still: Tesco baby magazine wanted to include a quote of mine in their Autumn edition, and could I supply a photo? Yesssss! Retribution against the minxes would be mine! My mum laughed long and hard at my teenage embarrassment at being snapped for the local newspaper naked on the beach aged 3 with my siblings. Similarly, I chose a very cheesy pic of my girls that would definitely induce future teenage cringe. Oh, I cannot wait!

After that, the trend was downward: Mini pooed her leggings, went ballistic at not being allowed to wear Big Girl Pants, bit Midi and spat at the cats. Midi stropped at being bored, sprayed every surface with water and smeared them with a wet, greasy, hairy rag she’d found lurking in a cupboard. Then in a fit of excitement she threw open the hall door and smashed Foster Cat’s food- and water-bowls against the wall – water everywhere. On already-rapidly-warping wood. Sheesh.

With Midi safely in nursery burning off some energy for a few hours, I went round a friend’s house for coffee, cake and to let Mini play with other children. I grabbed something to take with me and Mini cooed: “Ooooooo, treat! Chocolate treat!” See? I don’t stuff them full of rubbish food at all.

The playdate went well, but was over all too soon. When I realised that I’d just tried to put Mini’s jacket on myself, I figured it was time to put the car-keys down and step away from all machinery and sharp objects. And have another coffee.

Tea-time was the usual manic fluster of doing too many things at the same time. Right at the worst possible moment (ie the grill was still hot, dinner had just been put on the table, Foster Cat was scraping at the window on his hind-paws to get let in, Mini was on the rampage), Midi pulled her usual tea-time stunt. With a twist:

“I done a poooo!” she sang, proud of her latest otter. I helped her clean up and flushed. Then yelled as the water backed up and the poo looked like it was going to leap up and attack us. Maxi had blocked the toilet with her usual ‘use an entire roll to dab up a single drop of wee on the seat’ before Midi had used it. I stormed downstairs to find Mini picking out the grated carrot from her lamb pasta and spitting it at the cat. I could have screamed. I could have shouted. I could have sworn or smacked. Instead I strode to the cupboard and poured a glass of red wine and a biiiig block of cheap chocolate.

It helped 🙂


babywear rebozo hoernum fish

Cheeky Minx

(Tues 8 May)

We’ve been a right grumpy bunch the past 2 days. The long weekend was rather wonderful, albeit full of Falklands weather (hailstones, sleet, wind and blazing sunshine, all in the same 15 minutes. On repeat. Each day) which meant that I didn’t pay any attention to the sun and ended up a tad pink. So I suffered the minxes giggling ‘loser!’ at me for 2 days. ‘Loser’ is shorthand in our family for ‘sunburn victim’. To be fair it was only my chest, but I really should know better. Especially as the girls were trussed up in long, loose sleeves, hats and sunglasses. I’m no longer a big fan of Factor 1,000,000 suncream on children, now that my brood are 2 years old and over. God knows, Vitamin D from sunlight is in short supply up here in the Frozen North – we need all we can get! I think the secret is just to be sun-aware and cover up before you’ve had enough. Ahem. I need to take my own advice  Anyway, why so grumpy? Well, Monday night Mini Minx was up demanding “med-san” (medicine) for her eye. Eye? Do you have a sore eye, sweetheart? Oh, right, your eye. The one that lives in your mouth. Right where I think your molars are cutting… Uh-huh. So we gave her some Calpol (Calprofen seems to send her loopy and hyperactive) and her screams of pain and frustration blended seamlessly into screams of delight as she ran ragged round mine and The Boss’ bedroom for an hour. After finally getting her to bed, Midi came thundering in, complaining of nightmares. Another hour later, bed to our adult selves again, finally drifting off to sleep, only to be awoken by Foster Cat trying to budge me over so he could spread out. And later, Killer Cat doing the same thing, attempting to break The Cat Rule of no cats upstairs.

Last night, it was more of the same, but in reverse: we got a little sleep, then the cats woke us, then Midi, then Mini.

Around 6am I gave up trying to get back to sleep and persuaded The Boss to just get up and try to turn the yucky morning into something better. I talked him into making us all blueberry pancakes while I made Greek salads for 5 packed lunches. Tasted fine, but I bet it stank out a school and a work canteen with the amount of raw garlic I used (hehehehehehe).

Mini’s trying hard to say polysyllabic words: “Dada howma! Glap!” she smiled at me, nodding sagely.


“Dada howma! Howma! How! Ma! How! MAAA!” she frowned at me, like I was an idiot.

“I don’t understand, Mini. Say that again”.

She sighed. “Hawma! Hawma!” bashing my head. “Hawma! Dada! Hat”

“Oh!!!! Daddy’s helmet!” I gasped. She rolled her eyes: 25 months old 25 years attitude. “Ok, so what’s ‘glap’? What’s a glap? Where is it?” I guessed. She flexed her fingers. “Gloves?” I ventured.

“Yeeeee-ah!” she agreed, exasperated at having a fool for a mother, and shoving her finger up her nose.

So I scolded her: “No, I don’t want to see you picking your nose!” I guess the sharing lessons are sinking in: she promptly offered me her gooey finger. Yeuch.


She’d Like a Rainbow

Mini Minx was enjoying a large breakfast this morning: Shreddies, toast, toast, toast and more toast. (To quote The Boss, paraphrasing a supermarket advert, paraphrasing something else: “Toast monsters: if you butter it, they will come”). The Boss offered her some milk.

“Mik!” she agreed. “Inna cupppp! No lid”

The Boss pulled her usual mug out the cupboard. “No! No!” she yelled, as he started to bring it over. Sigh.

“This one?”


“This one?!”


“Well, this one, then?”

“NOOO! I want pink!”

He offered her every pink beaker, pink mug, pink cup in the cupboard. With 3 little girls, we own quite a few pink things. It took some time… Eventually, he lifted our toddler up, who was sobbing with frustration (“Pink! I want piiiink!”), and asked her to point to the one she wanted.

“Hehehee, THIS one! Pink!” she said, picking up the bright orange beaker.


Half-Trout, Half-Mouse

I must be part-mouse because yet another cat followed me home from school this morning. It’s mewling plaintively at me through the window, while Killer Cat and Foster Cat prowl menacingly around. (Though they won’t actually attack – they just keep showing it their bottoms. Cats…)

Anyone got any idea what to do? The cat has walked almost a mile to our house, following me, Midi and Mini Minx as we toddled our way up the hill. We didn’t stroke the cat, look at it, or pay it any attention even though it’s a beautiful, slinky black panther of a cat. But (a) I already have 2 cats, and any more would qualify me to be crazy old cat woman, and (b) I know where s/he lives normally (well, one of 3 houses).

I’ve been ignoring him/her, though it’s been hard. Poor thing! It’s wandering round and round the house, peeping through the windows at us. Should I catch the cat, put in a cat basket, and return it to where it appeared from originally? Should I just ignore and leave it to its own devices? Should I hope it follows us back down the hill on the lunchtime run?

Even though the situation probably will have resolved itself by the time you read this, I’d still appreciate advice, as it seems to be happening to me fairly frequently.

Wet Weekend…

…even though the sun split the heavens for our 48hr summer the entire weekend? Eh? Ah, it was all Midi’s fault.

On Saturday we planned to do a quick Elgin divide-and-conquer before letting the girls run riot in Cooper Park with their bikes. So we did: we got out early then divided into 2 groups to get specific shopping done, meet then re-split into a different group-pair, and again, and again. Incidentally, Mini’s eyesight is astounding; she spotted The Boss and her sisters from the other end of the the High Street. Yet they were wearing different clothes from when she saw them last. And my ex-aircrew hawk-eye-sight could barely distinguish them. So either she has fantastic eyesight or I’m an auld fart who needs glasses. Um…

Anyway, anyway, we got to the park. And hit the first tantrum. Mini absolutely refused to go on her little bike. Then she refused to walk in a vaguely similar direction to her sisters (Maxi speeds off on 2 wheels now, and Midi couldn’t care less how many wheels – she’ll make it go fast). She threw a strop at the prospect of going in a sling. She rolled on her back rather than hold anyone’s hand. I could guess it was going to be a long afternoon…

We caught up eventually with The Boss and the elder 2 minxes, who’d abandoned the bikes in favour of the slide. I suggested we get Mini back for a nap somehow. Just as Midi went screeching through a deep puddle. The only puddle. Now, a bit of wet isn’t going to harm anyone, even at sub 10degC temperatures, but when it’s your feet… I didn’t fancy Midi spending the next week with blisters on her feet. So we curtailed their fun and coralled them back to the car. Sheesh, that’s a long Walk of Shame from the swings to the carpark, all 3 minxes howling loudly!

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Sunday we decided to hit the beach. Yes, we are indeed all wearing fleece-lined waterproofs despite the blazing sun, and it being the end of April. It was *cold*!! I guess that’s why the beach was so empty. We had fun investigating a lobster creel and turning over boulders, but didn’t find any starfish this time. Midi soon tired of this and quickly discovered that her Spotty Otter trousers were bomb-proof when it came to bucket and spade mishaps. Actually, it was like they extended a field force round her – she shook out her sandcastle and it bounced! It didn’t fall apart at all until she really smashed it down from height. I guess around then she finally got a bit wet, and obviously thought, “I a Wetty Girl! Again!” and headed straight in to the nearest pool.

We left her happily thrashing up and down, using her fleecy trousers like a wetsuit. When Mini’s hands went past purple into blue, and I could barely move from the cold, we called it quits and hauled her out. Cue a huge meltdown. And realisation of just how cold it was. I ordered The Boss to wrap her in his shell jacket (I guess the cold had stopped his brain working, or something…), crammed a struggling Mini into a sling, grabbed a ton of beach toys and picked our way back to the car. At one point I found myself carrying a 13kg Mini on one hip, a 3kg rucksack on that arm, a 23kg Midi on the other hip and kept… on… walking… like… a… Terminator. Must… stay… moving… or I’ll freeze. I guess 30 mile-long journeys a week with a 6 stone double-buggy, a steep camber, and a long hill quietly does wonders for your upper body strength.

Och, they all complained about having to go home, but quickly calmed down – the world always seems better when you have a cup of hot chocolate in your hands and your feet are finally dry!